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Jamie Sep 13th, 1997 07:15 AM

How much would 7 days in London cost?
We are going to London this winter and were not sure how much money would be needed to have a good vacation. We heard the pubs were cheap and good to eat at, versus the expensive restaurants. We also wanted to do some sightseeing around London, as well as taking some half day and day trips to other areas. We are on somewhat of a restricted budget. Any information would be appreciated.

Tricia Sep 13th, 1997 09:51 AM

London..h.m.m. Are you an American citizen? If so, check out the exchange rate before you go. For that matter, where ever you live check it out. That's what killed my vacation in London. We spent $700 American in two days and that is what I spent in Holland in 6 days. We had 3 people and had to get a triple room. I thought I was being smart by booking on the internet and saving $30 a night but I did not realize that everytime I exchanged my $1 I lost fifty cents because of the devaluation of the dollar. We stayed at London Guards across from Hyde Park and a 10-15 minute drive from Victoria Station.
From hotel to Gatwick for 3 of us cost $80. Unbelievable! We took a tour of the city that was nice on a bus that hold 11 people. We ate at Beefeaters restaurant and that cost $130 plus tip for 3 of us. The next night we ordered Shakey's pizza and stayed in our room. I walked Hyde park, that's free if you don't eat or rent a boat. If you are into theatre, shopping and spending that is London, otherwise see the countryside and spend less.
There is a good question on places to stay in London further back in this forum I wish I had with me when I went. I did cheap pensions in Holland and Germany and just wanted a nice Victorian style hotel for 2 nites in England, but boy your money will get eaten up there!

Erika Sep 13th, 1997 10:51 AM

True, London is not cheap. But, as far as the exchange rate goes, the British pound has always been relatively stable. I have been to London on and off for the past 20 years, and the exchange rate has remained somewhere around 1.5USD to
1British Pound (plus or minus 20 cents). I was there in 1985 (I believe) and the pound versus the USD was great - somewhere around 1Pound to
1.2 USD. I was also there when the rate was 1 Pound to 1.8USD. This certainly can impact the amount of money needed. But this is true for all countries. However, the British pound doesn't tend to vary as dramatically as some other countries.

Carol Sep 14th, 1997 10:31 AM

I've been to London and many other places in England--at least once a year for several years. I find that London can be expensive, but no more expensive than a major city in the US. We frequently eat meals in pubs, the food is good, traditional and cheaper than regular restaurants. There are bus tours you can take that allow you to get on and off at various tourist locations and don't cost an arm and a leg. The ticket is usually good for the entire day. Many of the famous tourist attractions are not real expensive, if there is an entrance fee at all. Tower of London, Westminister Abbey, Biritsh Museum are all good values. Day trips out of London to Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and Greenwich are also excellent values. Feel free to E-Mail me if you have any specific questions you think I may be able to help you with. Have a good time!

Donna Sep 14th, 1997 09:34 PM

It is indeed wise to familarize yourself with the exchange rate. Determine how much you wish to spend on your accomodations in US dollars, convert to British Pounds and shop for accomodations accordingly. Same with restaurants. There are so many fabulous resources on the web and in printed tour guides for planning. You can determine admission costs, taxi and public transportation expenses, and so forth in advance. Once you've budgeted your accomodations, meals, and anticipated expenses, you can guestimate how much extra spending money you'd like to have along. And, remember the rule: Take half the clothes and twice the money!

sgorces Sep 15th, 1997 10:36 AM

Buyer beware! You can spend any amount you want. The writer above who paid $80 for fare to Gatwick airport made a bad investment. The Gatwick Express train costs 8L (about $13) which buys 3 people passage for under $40. Be careful about pub food. Yes, it's cheap, but the variation in quality is huge. Don't forget to consider ethnic foods. London offers some of the best ethnic restaurants in the world. Particularly, try Indian food, even if you don't think you like it, London will change your mind. London's small China Town offers dozens of small inexpensive restaurants. Your worst price decision would be to eat exclusively at the places marketed to visitors. Buy a London travel pass. They cost about $20 (for 4 days?) and rank as one of the best visitor transportation values in the world. They are good on nearly all subway (tube), surface trains and London Transport buses within 20 miles of London center. On lodging, you can pay anywhere from 50L to 300L per night. Choose carefully, the cash can roll on lodging. Buy pound travellers checks at a Thomas Cook office in most US big cities. They do not charge for travelers checks (although you might not get the very best exchange rate), while US banks do charge a bundle. In UK, you can cash Thomas Cook travelers checks for free at many banks and TC offices. London merchants also accept them and many do not take credit cards. I would expect a week in London for two to cost about $2500 to $3000 plus international travel. Not cheap, but London is worth it! Have fun, pay later!

Erika Sep 15th, 1997 10:52 AM

Just saw on the American Airlines website that they are offering 6 nights in London for $440 for two persons. Thats about $70/night. Just thought I'd mention it. Oh, it also includes some other freebies.

Tricia Sep 15th, 1997 02:10 PM

You guys don't get it- I did take the Gatwick Express-for three people and the 10 minute taxi ride from London Guards to Victoria Station was $16-add $40 plus $16 and thats $56-now figure in the rate of exchange and its $80--and that wonderful deal for $70 is that before or after you've lost 50 cents on the dollars buying pounds! Why is London worth it?just a busy big city- L.A. costs less! (Now I know I'll get a lot of flack on that one!) Tee hee!

Vince Sep 15th, 1997 08:33 PM

London is extremely expensive, Go through a reliable travel agent to book a few nights in London they can usually offer the best rates. I lived and worked in London for four months and now I'm happily married to an English women. We have the luxury of staying with her parents when we go and visit and we still spend loads of cash. Why! because the exchange rate is brutal. Definitley take the advice from the others and buy a Travel pass here in the states it's a great deal one week unlimited travel on the tube and busses. You'll find even the tube is expensive so invest wisely. The best countryside is Devonshire the southwest part of England it's absolutley gorgeous and about half the cost of London, and a lot easier to drive. I would suggest taking the train to Exeter and renting a Car from there and just drive, Cornwall is also great! Just beware England in the winter time is brutally COLD! Also look into home exchanges where you stay in somebody's house in exchange for your home at sometimeme.

sgorces Sep 15th, 1997 09:34 PM

Exactly Tricia! London is worth it because it's so far from L.A.!

Leslie Sep 16th, 1997 02:30 AM

I think Sgorces posted an excellent message... but I actually believe that the best way to get money in a foreign country is by using your personal bank card to withdraw cash, rather than using traveler's checks. You save money, it's more convenient, and it's quicker than having to deal with a cashier, producing your passport, and signing all those checks!

Bill Irving Sep 16th, 1997 07:23 AM

Jamie, I don't think your question has really been answered fully. Spending depends upon how fancy you want to get. 3 years ago, we stayed in London for 12 nights & did day trips from there. This past June, we took our 10
year old son for his first trip to London & we stayed for 9 nights. We stayed at the Hotel Russell, at Russell Square in Bloomsbury, for about 80 pounds per night for a great triple room, not sure if you would get that
discount rate though. For our day trips out of London, we purchased 4 day Britrail Flexi-passes, before we left the States. We also purchased Great British Heritage passes in the States, this gets you into all sorts of
castles & heritage homes throughout Great Britian, even the Tower Bridge tour, but it only covers half the entrance fee to the Tower of London. After visting about 3 or 4 of these you come out ahead on the cost. For
travel around London, the travel card is good, but we just purchase Day cards or Family cards for the tube. We ate at Pubs all over, we like the pub food, but there are also Pubs that actually have restaurants at good prices,
such as the Sherlock Holmes(upstairs) on Northumberland in London. Bloomsbury area also has some fantastic Italien restaurants at inxpensive prices, 1 is right next to the Russell Square tube stop. We basically allow $100
per day per adult for food, souvenirs, entrance fees not covered on a pass, tube travel, & misc, in addition to Hotel & travel. We usually come back with some money. We purchase about $300 of British currency in the States,
at our bank -- where there is no service charge -- to get us through the initial time in getting to London. We also buy American Express travelers checks from AAA, which being a member, don't charge us a fee. In London, we
go to the American Express office right across from Harrod's & exhcange American travelers checks for British pounds, with no fee. Sure it is expensive, but the are ways you can cut down on some of the expenses, but if
you know what you can expect then don't worry too much about the money & concentrate on having a good time. Our day trips from London consisted of going to Portsmouth, Cardiff & Caerphilly Wales, overnight train to Edinburgh &
back to London the next afternoon, Windsor, in the past we have also done day trips to Salisbury & Stonehenge, Dover & Canterbury,

dodger Sep 16th, 1997 07:26 AM

Sorry to hear that some of you feel ripped off while in London. London, like any other place can be expensive or cheap. It all depends on how you go about it. The more effort you spend in reading of the various ways to cut costs the more you will save and the more enjoyment you can have. I have no pity for those who go unprepared and then beef about it. Having said that,, here are some thoughts. If you rent an apartment in the outer area of London, still on the tube lines,you can get a place that will sleep up to four people for around $500.00 per week. You can also cook some of your meals or heat up prepared food. If you do not want to cook there are the American syle fast food places that are cheap. Lots of pizza places and great, cheap Chinese. For sightseeing you book 1/2 and full days with one of the local bus tour companies. You travel agent can arrange this for you. I really would consider buying a Britrail pass. You can do any number of day trips from London. Ask you agent for a copy of Britrail 97. This free booklet provides tons of information. If I can be of specific help just let me know.

Christina Sep 16th, 1997 10:15 AM

Briefly, I think London is one of the more
expensive cities to visit (for hotels and food),
and I'd rate it about equal to New York City in
cost. Other than hotels and food, it didn't seem
too different than other places. Your best bet
might be to try to find a good package deal for
the hotels.
I found the posts above from someone who doesn't
understand foreign currency to be rather
odd (regarding the fact that England "devalues"
the dollar because you "lose" 50 cents when you
exchange dollars for pounds). She apparently
doesn't understand that other countries' money
is not going to be traded one-to-one for the US$,
but that this has no intrinsic meaning. No. one
English pound does not equal one US$, nor does
one German DM, etc., but this is not a very
good way to evaluate the cost of things in foreign
countries -- after all, you get about 1.4 Swiss
francs for one $US and 120 Japanese yen for $1,
but this hardly means things are cheap in
Switzerland or Japan. The English pound is very
stable and has been roughly the same rate versus
the US$ for quite a long time now, I think.

Julie Sep 16th, 1997 04:39 PM

The thing is, you must walk alot, do bed and breakfasts, or little hotels. We like to stay in Soho in small hotels (can book when you get there from the airport). Then eat a big breakfast and wait til dinner. Lots of little ethnic places to eat, and it is safe to walk around at night. The shows are often discounted, if they have extra tickets. Just jump in any queue when you see one and take your chances. (we went to Covent garden and saw Sleeping Beauty for abut 5 pounds each.) You can walk to everywhere in Soho, or take the tube. There is lots to see, and no crowds that time of lines to see the crown jewels, the museums, etc. We are goind in January too and looking forward to it very much. I think you can do it all, and well, for the equivalent of $125 day for two.

Leslie Sep 17th, 1997 03:21 AM

Thank you Christina! I, too , have been amused by some posters; concepts of exchange rates in different countries. I just made a day trip with a friend from the UK to Ireland. I exchanged my 40 British pounds and got back 40 Irish Pounds and 20P. She exchanged $10 and got back 5 Irish Pounds... and she carried on the rest of the day that I had gotten such a better deal than she had!

Eileen Saluga Sep 17th, 1997 08:57 AM

My husband and I spent 8 days in London last spring, and it was expensive only because of the choices we made in advance - i.e. we wanted to stay in a small "luxury" hotel, we wanted to see at least 4-5 shows, we took two day trips (one to Bath - which was just OK, one to Oxford - which was wonderful,we like to eat "good" food, not fast food, etc. etc. We did get a pretty good package detail from British Air which included airfare from NY and the hotel - although we paid more to get the better hotel.

I think you can spend as much or as little as you like, but you do need to do a fair amount of research in advance.

Feel free to e-mail me for more info or comments

Karen Harris Sep 17th, 1997 02:42 PM

Dear Jamie, There was lots of valuable information
posted on your board and I would definitely take time to read through all of it. What you spend in London is entirely up to you. If you normally have expensive taste in areas such as lodging and restaurants then you will have no trouble spending vast sums of money. On the other hand, if you travel like the majority of Europeans (incl. the British) you will be able to save money as well. Pubs are cheaper to eat at but only if they do not cater to the tourist. If you plan on travelling outside of London I would suggest purchasing an "Open View Ticket" which allows free admission to over 500 sites including Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. "Membership in English Heritage will provide free admission to places such as the Tower of London and Kensington Palace. The National Trust also offers a similar package. These "passes" could save you hundreds of dollars in admission fees. Always walk, take the tube, or ride the bus. Taxis are far too expensive and though the drivers are wonderful tour guides the ride is pricey. You can obtain half price theatre tickets,if your schedule is flexible, by purchasing tickets on the day of the performance (and sometimes only hours before) either at the theatre ticket booth or at the half price box office in Leicester square. St. Martin in the Fields offers free lunchtime concerts during the week and you can always get an excellent, cheap meal in the crypt. I would suggest listing your priorities - What is top on your list that you won't mind spending money on and work down from there. If theatre is important to you and you only want to see hit shows then you're going to go broke. If, on the other hand, you're quite happy with London's equivalent of New York's "off Broadway" then you can see shows for 1/4 the cost of the hit show tickets. Stay away from places like Mac Donalds. They're twice as expensive and you have them at home. Get off the beaten path and hang with the locals. Once you break the ice they will be more than happy to point you in the direction of a budget hotel or inexpensive restaurant. One person metioned taking advantage of ethnic restaurants. Excellent idea! A great way to save money and the food is wonderful.
If you have any specific questions don't hesitate to contact me via email. Good luck!

Jamie Sep 18th, 1997 07:25 AM

I wanted to thank everyone for all of the input I received about London. It was a big help.


Jamie Sep 18th, 1997 07:27 AM

I wanted to thank everyone for all of the input I received about London. It was a big help.


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